By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
Two days after receiving the first batch of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines, the Federal Government says it will commence vaccination against COVID-19 on March 5 beginning with the frontline health workers.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, made the announcement on Thursday during the second edition of State House weekly ministerial briefing in Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, which focused on Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s national vaccination strategy.
Shuaib disclosed that the government will kick-off the exercise at the National Hospital in Abuja.
He restated that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, would also take their vaccine on Saturday, March 6.
Persecondnews recalls that Nigeria had on March 2 received its first shipment of 3,924,000 doses of the vaccines from COVAX, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed initiative, set up to procure and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines for free among countries across the world.
Shuaib said: “Given that we have now received the vaccines, the next step in the vaccination program is a launch, which will be taking place at the National Hospital tomorrow.
“Launch of National vaccination campaign will take place at the National Hospital Abuja, Friday March 5, 2021, with Frontline health workers. The launch will be conducted by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19; Boss Mustapha.
“The plan is to vaccinate the frontline health workers that work in the treatment centre of the National Hospital. Those will be the first people just like we have communicated earlier.
“On Saturday, the plan is to vaccinate Mr President, Mr Vice-President and strategic leaders, to demonstrate vaccine safety to the public.
“Again, we are hopeful that when Nigerians see leaders like Mr President and Mr Vice-President take the vaccines; it will increase their confidence around the safety of the vaccines.
“As you are well aware that even before the vaccines arrived in Nigeria, there is a lot of hesitancy. It is a global phenomenon.